In 2014, 14 serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic
immunity in the United Kingdom were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office by Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection of the Metropolitan Police, or other law
enforcement agencies. Twelve of these were driving-related. We define serious offences as those
which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or more. Also
included are drink-driving and driving without insurance.
Some 22,000 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom and the majority
of diplomats abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious crimes committed by members of
the diplomatic community in the UK is proportionately low.
Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961, those entitled to immunity are
expected to obey the law. The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats breaking the law.
We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When instances of alleged criminal conduct are
brought to our attention by the police, we ask the relevant foreign government to waive diplomatic
immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not
been granted, we seek the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat.
Alleged serious and significant offences reported to the FCO in 2014 are listed below.
Driving without insurance
Driving without insurance, driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence, and without due care and attention
Driving without insurance, without an MOT, and with tyres significantly worn below the legal limit
Driving whilst under the influence of alcohol, without insurance, and without a valid licence
Driving under the influence of alcohol
In charge of a vehicle under the influence of alcohol
Possession of a firearm
Development of malware for the purpose of fraud
We also wish to record a further four offences of conspiracy to cheat the revenue between 2009
and 2012, of which four former Gambian diplomats were convicted in 2014. These were not
recorded in previous Written Ministerial Statements because the cases were either under
investigation or were sub judice. Their previous inclusion may have hampered investigations or
prejudiced the outcome of criminal proceedings.
Figures for previous years are available in the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 15 July 2014, Official Report,